THE EVAN B. DONALDSON ADOPTION INSTITUTE
September 2003 E-NEWSLETTER

IN THIS ISSUE

1. Laws, Policy & Practice

2. Research

3. News

4. About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute


1. Laws, Policy & Practice


PROPOSED INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION REGULATIONS PUBLISHED

The State Department published proposed rules to implement the Intercountry Adoption Act and the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption on September 15, 2003 in the Federal Register. The regulations provide for accreditation and approval standards and procedures for agencies and persons and preservation of Convention records, but regulations governing intercountry adoption procedures have not yet been published. Comments on the proposed regulations must be submitted to the State Department by November 14, 2003. The Adoption Institute has submitted recommendations on earlier drafts of the regulations and will submit comments on the proposed regulations in the coming weeks. To read the accreditation regulations, go to http://www.regulations.gov/fredpdfs/03-22650.pdf; to read the records regulations, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/fredpdfs/03-22651.pdf

$15 MILLION IN ADOPTION INCENTIVE BONUSES AWARDED TO 25 STATES
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded twenty-five states and Puerto Rico nearly $15 million in Adoption Incentive bonuses for increasing adoptions of foster children in fiscal year (FY) 2002. Among the states receiving bonuses, 3,703 more children were adopted in FY02 than FY01. The awards were given to states that have completed more adoptions in FY02 than they completed annually in the last five years. States receive $4,000 for each child adopted beyond its baseline, or best annual total, as well as $2,000 for each special needs child adopted beyond its baseline. Rep. Camp (R-MI) introduced legislation (HR3182) on September 25, 2003 to reauthorize and amend the Adoption Incentive program by rewarding states for increasing adoptions, special needs adoptions and older child adoptions. The Senate is considering legislation (S1439) to promote older child adoptions. For more information about the FY2003 bonuses, go to: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/news/press/2003/release_091203.htm;  to read the bills, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/  and type S1439 or HR3182 in the bill number field.

CONGRESS CONSIDERING LEVEL FUNDING FOR SAFE AND STABLE FAMILIES
The House and Senate have passed FY2004 appropriations bills to fund the Department of Health and Human Services, including $405 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program, the same funding level as FY2003. The President's budget, by contrast, requested $505 million for the program, which funds adoption promotion and support services, in addition to other child welfare services. The appropriations bills are currently being deliberated by a committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate measures, but since both bills contained the same funding levels for Safe and Stable Families, the amount is unlikely to change without pressure from the White House.


COURT VOIDS GUATEMALA'S IMPLEMENTATION OF HAGUE CONVENTION
The Constitutional Court of Guatemala published its decision ruling that Guatemala's accession to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is unconstitutional. The Guatemalan Solicitor General's office (PGN) indicated it would return to the previous system, working through notary publics, after the ruling was published on September 12, 2003. The State Department warned that prospective adoptive parents should expect delays due to case backlogs, but stated that the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in Guatemala City will begin accepting new I-600s for approval. For more information, go to: http://travel.state.gov/guatemala_notice.html


HAGUE CONVENTION ENTERS INTO FORCE IN BELARUS
As of November 1, 2003, the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption will enter into force in the Republic of Belarus. Americans adopted 169 children from Belarus in 2002, ranking it 14th among sending countries to the U.S. For more information, go to: http://www.hcch.net/e/status/adoshte.html.


2. Research


STUDY FINDS 80 PERCENT OF AGENCIES OFFER OPEN ADOPTIONS 
A longitudinal study of changes in adoption practices related to openness found increasing numbers of agencies are offering fully disclosed adoption - from 36% in 1987 to 79% in 1999. Fully disclosed adoption is defined in "The Impact of Openness on Adoption Agency Practices: A Longitudinal Perspective" as "when the parties share information, and/or meetings, and/or phone calls, and the sharing is conducted directly with the other party." According to the study by Henney, McRoy, Ayers-Lopez and Grotevant, by 1999 only one-third of agencies were offering confidential adoptions ("no information is shared beyond 6 months after placement") and none were offering confidential only. The study, published in Adoption Quarterly, Volume 6, Number 3, consisted of phone interviews with private adoption agency staff in 1987-1989 (31 agencies), 1993 (34 agencies) and 1999 (24 agencies). The shift in practice has occurred primarily because of birthmother demand - in 1999, 87% of agencies reported that as a factor for the practice change. To order this article, go to: http://www.haworthpressinc.com/store/product.asp?sku=J145.2000 


ADOPTIVE PARENTS' EMPATHY ASSOCIATED WITH OPEN ADOPTION
The first stage of a United Kingdom longitudinal study on open adoption found an association between adoptive parents' empathy for their children's birth families and stability of contact. Elsbeth Neil's study, published in Volume 6, Number 3 of Adoption Quarterly, consisted of interviews with 49 recent adoptive parents (30 families with 35 children) who had face-to-face contact with birth families. "Understanding Other People's Perspectives: Tasks for Adopters in Open Adoption" found that the majority of adoptive parents (71%) had "good-enough empathy" (or understanding) with birth relatives and 66% had "comprehensive empathy" with their children. Most of the children (74%) had been adopted from public care, with 60% having experienced neglect or maltreatment, and their mean age was 21 months at placement (in 1996 and 1997) and 53 months at the time of the study. The findings indicated that not only is the adoptive parents' ability to empathize important, but the adoption agency's practices are influential in shaping the views of the adopters. To order this article, go to: http://www.haworthpressinc.com/store/product.asp?sku=J145.


STUDY LINKS ADOPTIVE MOTHER'S ATTACHMENT TO CHILD'S EMOTIONS
A study from the United Kingdom found an association between a mother's attachment and her adopted child's emotions. The study by Steele et al, in the Journal of Child Psychotherapy, consisted of interviews with 43 mothers before placement and a story-completion exercise with their 61 adopted children within three months of placement. The children ranged in age from 4 to 8 years old, and they had suffered neglect, abuse and multiple placements. Mothers whose attachment interviews were rated as "insecure" (dismissing or preoccupied) were more likely to have children who provided story completions with higher levels of aggression than mothers rated as "secure." Similarly, mothers who were judged to be "unresolved" with respect to prior loss or trauma had children whose narratives were characterized by themes of "parent appearing childlike" and "adult aggression" more than "secure" mothers. The study's findings may be helpful in matching and supporting adoptive parents. To order this article, go to: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/online/0075-417x.html.


MOST AGENCIES FOUND TO OFFER TRAINING FOR TRANSRACIAL ADOPTERS
A survey by Vonk and Angaran found that 53% of responding agencies that facilitate transracial adoptions provide cultural competence training; of those, 61.7% are private and 43.4% are public. The researchers found that of the 53%, all the public agencies and 65% of the private ones offer culture competence trainings to all parents, regardless of their race or that of their children. A vast majority (84% of the public and 80% of the private) make the trainings a requirement for parents adopting transracially. "Training for Transracial Adoptive Parents by Public and Private Agencies," in Adoption Quarterly, also reports that almost all public and over half of private agencies offer training before the home study, but fewer than 30% of private and fewer than 20% of public agencies provide post-placement training. To order this article, go to: http://www.haworthpressinc.com/store/product.asp?sku=J145

SURVEY REPORTS GRANDPARENTS NOW CARING FOR 1.3 MILLION CHILDREN
According to the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF), 1.3 million children (1.8% of all children) were cared for by grandparents in 1999, accounting for 58% of the children living in relative care. For the vast majority of these children (1.1 million), the arrangements were made privately, while for the remaining 200,000, child welfare officials played a role. Based on the 1999 NSAF data, an August 2003 Urban Institute report finds that compared to children living with other relatives, children living with grandparents are more likely to live in poverty (though not have housing and child care problems) and with a caregiver in poor health. Children in both relative caregiver groups, however, are as likely to have health, behavioral or emotional, or school problems. Though all grandparent caregivers are eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families child-only payments and all children in relative care are eligible for Medicaid, only 29% receive foster care or child-only payments and 47% receive Medicaid. The authors recommend improving service delivery through improved targeting, outreach and access. To read this article, go to: http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/310842_B-55.pdf

PHYSICIANS PROVIDE HEALTH ADVICE FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
Noting that internationally adopted children are at increased risk for infectious diseases and often have uncertain immunization status, Chen et al make recommendations for adoptive parents to reduce the risk of transmission. "Preventing Infectious Diseases During and After International Adoption" provides suggestions for pre-travel consultation and for protecting other family members. The report cites a study finding that "important medical conditions" were identified in 57% of 293 internationally adopted children, 81% of which were identified "by obtaining a specific panel of screening tests." The September 2003 article in Annals of Internal Medicine also gives an overview of specific infectious diseases and their case rates for internationally adopted children - including tuberculosis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and intestinal parasites - as well as of vaccination rates. To read the article, go to: http://www.annals.org/cgi/reprint/139/5_Part_1/371.pdf


3. News



IOWA MAY CURB SUBSIDIES TO PARENTS ADOPTING FROM FOSTER CARE
The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) is considering cutting assistance to adoptive parents of children from the foster care system, including eliminating the subsidy for minority infants. The state does not plan to cut off those parents already receiving the subsidy, but would not offer it to the estimated 75 families that would be eligible in 2004. Additionally, Iowa is proposing to eliminate the subsidy for children at risk of mental, physical or emotional disabilities, though the state would maintain it for those diagnosed with such problems. These two proposals would yield an annual savings of less than $250,000. Iowa has more children in subsidized adoptions than in the foster care system. To read the article, go to: http://www.dmregister.com/news/stories/c4780934/22211963.html


4. About The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute


Since its establishment in 1996, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has been a pre-eminent, independent voice for improving adoption for everyone it touches - particularly children - through innovative programs, educational initiatives, research and analysis, and advocacy for better practices, policies and laws.

Our award-winning web site, www.adoptioninstitute.org/old, is a popular and reliable source for accurate adoption information. Read past e-Newsletters at http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/nl_archives.html.

SUPPORT OUR WORK
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time grant. To continue our work, we depend on new and renewable sources of funding. We need the financial support of people like you whose lives have been touched by adoption and who care about the future of vulnerable children everywhere. Please send a generous contribution to the Adoption Institute’s annual fund today. To donate, please call 212-269-5080 x10 or go online to https://www.networkforgood.org/makeDonation.go

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